Kodak has done so many things wrong in the last ten years that it’s hard to trust its judgment, but it may be redefining the printer market today and doing us all a favor.

Kodak is introducing three inkjet printers with a simple message that will resonate deeply with anyone printing photos: ink doesn’t need to cost as much as printer manufacturers have been charging for the last few years. Kodak will sell replacement cartridges for $10-15 and claims that photos will cost half as much to print on the new Kodak printers. Here’s an article about the Kodak EasyShare All-In-One printers.

There’s a lot to learn about the quality of the printer hardware, the design (and intrusiveness) of Kodak’s software, and Kodak’s ability to stay competitive in the long run against well-funded competitors. I’d like to think that HP, Epson and Canon will feel some pressure to respond even if Kodak falls flat – too many consumers feel abused by the gouging on inkjet cartridges. (For one random example that a client ran into last week, go read the Amazon comments about Epson’s new Stylus Photo R380, which uses premium ink cartridges that quite literally cost as much to replace as the printer purchase price and which reportedly drinks that ink like water.)

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